Paragon Award

The Division of Outreach and Continuing Education and the Office of Academic Outreach are pleased to support the annual Paragon Award for Excellence in Distance Teaching. The purpose of the Paragon Award is to recognize and reward superior online teaching, encourage online instructors to continually grow professionally, and to serve as role models in academic excellence. 

The award recipient receives a $1,000 cash award and trophy. The recipient’s name is also engraved on The Paragon Award Winner plaque which in on display in the J.D. Williams Library. In addition, up to two honorable mentions may be awarded a $500 cash award each. 

Award recipients, to include honorable mentions, may be asked to serve on future award selection committees. 

For questions and concerns about the Paragon Award, contact Mary Lea McMillan,, 662-915-7089. 

Award Criteria

The award is based on work conducted while serving a teaching appointment at the University of Mississippi. The criteria for the award include: 

  • Successful practices in online course design that enhance student learning and engagement; 
  • Innovative and creative use of technology and instructional methods; 
  • Dedication to providing an excellent student learning experience. 

Eligibility & Nominations

Any instructor endorsed to teach online by Academic Outreach that taught a fully online course during the specified year is eligible for nomination. Instructors can be nominated for the Paragon Award by:

  • Department Chair - Chairs will receive a list of potential nominees and the online course(s) taught. Chairs can nominate up to three online instructors. 
  • Online Course Enrichment - automatically nominated after completion of revisions and teaching the revised course during the specified year. 

Nomination Package Requirements

Nominees will be notified by Academic Outreach of their nomination. If a nominee wishes to accept a nomination for the Paragon Award, they will need to submit the following to the award selection committee (an online submission link will be provided to the nominee): 

  • A video narrative presentation, no more than 10 minutes in length, that fully addresses the three criteria for the Paragon Award and how your online course meets or exceeds all three criteria. The video should include, but is not limited to:
    • Your teaching philosophy,
    • student testimonials specific to the nominated course (term/year), and should
    • address and show:
      • course design,
      • assessment methods,
      • interaction and facilitation,
      • course navigation,
      • how technology is used in the course(s),
      • active learning activities,
      • DEIA practices, etc.
  • Provide the course syllabus for the specific nominated course (term/year). 


Information subject to change
Chair Nominations: accepted from November 13 – 11:59 p.m. December 3, 2023
Nomination Package Submission: accepted from January 8 – 11:59 p.m. January 28, 2024
Award Recipient Announced: Mid- to Late February 2024
Award Presentation: at Toolbox Talks 2024 on Wednesday, April 10

Previous Recipients

2022: Dr. Kristy Durkin (Social Work)
2021: Dr. Carey Bernini Dowling (Psychology)
2020: Dr. Katerina Berezina (Nutrition and Hospitality Management)
2019: Dr. Shennette Garrett-Scott (History and African-American Studies)
2018: Dr. Jason Solinger (English) & Sheena Boran (Writing & Rhetoric)
2017: Dr. Jandel Crutchfield (Social Work)
2016: Robin Street (Journalism)
2015: Jane Meek (Writing & Rhetoric)
2014: Dr. Deb Wenger (Journalism)
2013: Victoria Bryan (Writing & Rhetoric)
2012: Anna Pechenick Mausolf (Heath, Exercise Science & Recreation Management)
2011: Dr. Jennifer Snook (Sociology & Anthropology) & Dr. Carol Livingston (Teacher Education)
2010: Dr. Bart Garner (Management Information Systems) & Dr. Stefan Schulenberg (Psychology)